Any cat owner can probably relate to the immense urge to pick up your cat whenever you see them. They look so adorable that you just want to keep. giving them kisses and hugs However, more than often, the cat will jump off your arm and show displease in being held. Is it normal if your cat doesn’t like to be picked up?
You’ll often see cute videos on the internet of cats who enjoy being carried like a baby. They look so relaxed in their owner’s arm as well. Then, you might feel a little disappointed that your fur baby isn’t that cuddly. Whenever you try to hold them, they’ll throw a fit and try to squirm their way out.
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Reasons Cat Hates Being Picked Up
It’s not natural for cats to be picked up
From a cat’s perspective, being picked up is very much an unfamiliar experience. They have never been held as a form of interaction. Obviously, cats never pick each other up. The few ways cats interact with one another or other animal is through smelling or licking them.
In fact, picking up a cat might make them feel like they’re being attacked. Since this action is very unnatural, cats will think you’re a predator and try to escape from your grip. We want to show them our good intention, but they won’t be able to understand it. They might even feel that we’re disrespecting them.
Cats feel like they’re being restrained
Remember how the mother cat usually picks up her kitten by the scruff to keep them under control? It’s very much similar to how a cat will feel when you hold them.
An affectionate hug by a human can come across as a restraining order. Who in the world likes being held back and interrupted while trying to do their daily tasks? That’s how the cat thinks of you picking them up out of nowhere. A cat doesn’t like to be picked up because it appreciates its own freedom more.
Cats have negative experience with being held or picked up
Being confined might be associated with an experience that your cat doesn’t enjoy, such as being abused in the past or a trip to the vet. If you are adopting an adult cat with a history, this is even more common. If a cat was once a stray, being picked up also means that they’re in danger.
Some cats are more timid and aloof
A lot of cats are easily scared of even the tiniest change in their environment. And as being picked up is an unfamiliar experience, they will try to escape and hide from being scared. Imagine a creature 10 times bigger than you trying to grab you – doesn’t that sound terrifying or what?
On the other hand, some cat breeds are more independent and don’t enjoy human’s affection as much as others. Cats who love getting attention and love from you will endure being picked up better than those who prefer to be left alone.
Can You Train Your Cat To Like Being Picked Up?
If you love cats too much and wish to hold them whenever you want, then there is certainly a possible solution for you. Cats can, in fact, be trained to like being held during their kittenhood or with positive reinforcement.
In the first few weeks of their life, kittens will engage in many activities known as socialization. This helps them get early exposure to what their future life would include, and shape their personality. A well-socialized kitten will be more confident and familiar with human touch. They will also have better communication with the owner.
During this period, if you pick up the kitten while giving them encouragement, they will naturally perceive that this is a positive interaction. The kitten will grow up thinking that being held is rewarding and safe.
However, if you have a grown up cat that initially hates being picked up, you can train them instead. It might take a while, but with patience and love, your cat will understand that there is no bad intention when you do so.
How To Get A Cat To Like Being Held
First, you need to make sure that your cat is comfortable with your touch. Don’t force them to be next to you all the time – they will definitely come to you when they’re comfortable.
The way you hold the cat is also important. If they like being held, each cat would prefer a certain style. Though some are comfortable being cradled like a baby, your cat might not be the same.
The safest way to lift up a cat is with two hands under their chest. Then, switch to having one hand on the chest and the other supports their hind legs.
Start slowly by picking them up only slightly off the ground and for a short time. Give them a reward if they show a positive reaction when you’re doing so. When they don’t want to be held anymore, let them go.
Try to be patient and do not rush the process. Avoid overwhelming your cat with affection and reward either, as it would only confuse them. Choose the time when they are the most relaxed to interact with them.
With constant practice and encouragement, your cat will gradually feel content about you picking them up. However, if your cats still refuse being held, it’s best not to force them into it.